Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eighty arrests as cops bust ‘phone scam ring’

Eighty arrests as cops bust ‘phone scam ring’

Eighty arrests as cops bust ‘phone scam ring’

Eighty people were arrested yesterday in a three-province wide bust of one of Cambodia’s largest telephone-based extortion rings to date, according to the Ministry of Interior’s Internal Security Police Department.

The 80 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals were arrested during three simultaneous raids conducted by law enforcement officials in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Takeo.

The suspects, 23 of whom are women, were allegedly obtaining money from people in China and Taiwan via phone scams using voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which can mask the origin country of the caller. The suspects pretended to be police on the phone and demanded the victim on the other end of the line pay for overdue taxes, according to Chhay Sinarith, chief of the ministry’s internal security police.

“These people were all part of the same group of Chinese and Taiwanese VoIP scammers.… They hide in the outskirts of cities in Cambodia,” Sinarith told the Post.

Police have been investigating this extortion group for the past two weeks after receiving scam complaints from residents in Taiwan that date back several years.

Yesterday at 1:30pm, police raided the suspects’ rental villas. Eight members of the group were arrested in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, Teuk Thla commune, while 44 were arrested in Siem Reap town’s Thvay Dangkum commune. An additional 28 suspects were netted in Takeo province’s Takeo district.

During the raids, officials also confiscated a number of VoIP telephones, mobile phones, motorcycles and other related materials.

“Our police are still questioning the suspects to work out this case,” said Sinarith, adding that the foreign nationals would all be sent to court soon.

An official from the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh declined to comment yesterday.

Figures for the number of VoIP crackdowns and associated arrests made this year were not available yesterday. However, according to a Ministry of Interior report, from 2010 until June 2013, about 600 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals were arrested for allegedly extorting money from residents abroad using VoIP calls.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty